We are grateful for our summer of abundant and varied wildlife encounters.

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September 27th

Today’s Sightings:

Humpback whales, Dall’s porpoises, Stellar sea lions, Harbour seals, Bald Eagles, Red -necked Phalaropes, Ancient Murrelets, Rhinoceros Auklets, Gull species, Belted Kingfishers, Great Blue Herons, Pelagic Cormorants and Common Murres.

Heavy fog and brilliant sunshine, Humpback whales lunge feeding through numerous bait balls and frolicking sea lions, all took the spot light today as we cruised amongst the scenic rock gardens and bays of this Northern Vancouver Island region.

As sea smoke blanketed the islands and islets of our coastal marine paradise, the M.V. Seasmoke headed out for the final tour of our 2017 season. It is a bittersweet feeling to be hanging up the float suits, winterizing our vessel and closing the office doors. For some of us who are privileged to live in this region, the day has arrived that we begin our farewells, saying goodbye to the majestic and incredible animals who for the summer have called this place home. While some species remain here throughout the winter, most will move on to their wintering grounds including the resident Orcas and Humpback Whales.

When we look back on our posted blogs and images and recall all our profound wildlife encounters, we cannot help but feel overwhelmed with gratitude. Nature in its own rhythm went about its way, balancing within an ecosystem so fascinating yet so fragile.

We have observed feasting Humpback whales, foraging and socializing Orcas, grazing Black bears, diving seabirds, soaring Bald Eagles and sunbathing seals along with numerous other animals. They were simply doing their thing, in their own unique way, all ultimately trying to survive and thrive.

We can only hope that our visitors, along with their photographs and memories, have taken away from their experience while aboard M. V. Seasmoke, an understanding that we are all a part of this Natural World. Humans, whales, birds and bears can coexist in harmony as long as there is an understanding and respect for the needs of all living things. We play a huge role in being the voice for the coast and all who dwell here, therefore ambassadors we have become.

How wonderful it has been to have had the opportunity to share this with visitors from all over the world. May the coming seasons be gentle for our wildlife and kind to all those who shared their lives with us here at Seasmoke.

Thank you.

Seasmoke Whale Watching photo’s have been taken by Dave Jones using a telephoto lens and have been cropped.

Breaching Humpback whales and so much more!

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September 26th

Today’s Sightings:

Humpback whales, Dall’s porpoises, Stellar sea lions, Harbour seals, Bald Eagles, Red-necked Phalaropes, Ancient Murrelets, Rhinoceros Auklets, Gull species, Belted Kingfishers, Great Blue Herons, Cormorants and Common Murres.

As we near the end of our whale watching season having only one touring day to go, we feel the need to take in every morsel of natural phenomena that is revealed right before our eyes while cruising the straits and passages.

Today was a stunner. The seas were like glass, the skies clear and the sun rays soaked us in its beautiful, stunning light. Everything glistened including the slick backs of Humpbacks, the water caressed seals and sea lions, as well as the bull kelp that fringed the rocks and islands where we traveled.

Bald Eagles stood on tops of cedar trees as though they too were taking in the last of the summer. The abundance of animals was a topic of conversation while onboard M.V. Seasmoke. The Stellar sea lions have multiplied in massive numbers, now taking up residence on additional islets and rocks. We had an incredible encounter with a large group who were swimming by, perhaps in pursuit of food. They slowed down, stopped then lifted their heads and shoulders high out of the water and looked straight at us. Their curiosity astounded us as we silently watched.

This morning we were blessed by a sighting of a breaching Humpback whale which occurred shortly after a discussion had just taken place about that very topic. Synchronicity is a fascinating thing.

Despite the fact that we are very much in the middle of Autumn, the signs of summer are holding on by a delightful thread that gives us hope that winter is not yet ready to draw upon us. We have hope that tomorrow, our last tour of the season will offer similar sea and weather conditions. Until then, enjoy the stunning images posted on today’s blog.

Seasmoke Whale Watching photo’s have been taken by Dave Jones using a telephoto lens and have been cropped.

Our wonderful world!

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September 24th.

Our sightings:

Humpback whales, a Minke whale, Pacific White-sided dolphins++, Dall’s porpoises, Stellar sea lions, Mother Black bear and two cubs, Harbour seals, Bald Eagles, Red-necked Phalaropes, Ancient Murrelets, Rhinoceros Auklets, Gull species and Common Murres.

It was an amazing time that we all shared despite there being a heavy fog in our surroundings for much of our tour today.

It began with the sighting of a large bait ball that we were excited to watch as a Minke whale lunged through it, time and again. There were Harbour seals hauled out and Stellar Sea lions to view with Bald Eagles sitting high up on the tree tops as we cruised slowly along to arrive at the edge of the fog line.

We entered into the heavy fog looking for Pacific White-sided dolphins and Humpback whales that had already been reported in Blackfish Sound. Using our boat instruments we motored cautiously and slowly onwards and finally, there they were, some 80++ dolphins and a Humpback whale. Inukshuk the whale was trumpeting loudly and tail lobbing repeatedly. The viewing was spectacular, especially when a second Humpback whale joined in and with dolphins all around, we found ourselves totally immersed and transfixed on the moments at hand that lasted for us a long-while, observing and listening to the dolphins splashing and leaping all around us and the Humpbacks!

As the fog began to clear, on our return home we were able to enjoy the lovely sights of some picturesque island waterways that never disappoint and are always a treat to explore. The last wildlife encounter for everyone was the surprise viewing of a mother Black bear and her two cubs who we observed were feeding amongst the boulders at low tide. Our ending could not have been more heart warming or memorable. A Mother bear teaching her cubs how and when to feed, on a coastal beach where the tide is low and generous with food for their taking, twice a day.

Seasmoke Whale Watching photo’s have been taken by Dave Jones using a telephoto lens and have been cropped.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Orcas and Humpback whales in their glory!

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September 21st.

Our sightings:

Orcas ( A34’s and I4’s), Humpback whales, Pacific White-sided dolphins, Dall’s porpoises, Stellar sea lions, Harbour seals, Bald Eagles, Red-necked Phalaropes, Ancient Murrelets, Rhinoceros Auklets, Gull species, Fork-tailed Storm Petrels and Common Murres.

It was an incredible day for viewing wildlife for calm and mirrored waters enabled easy viewing far and wide where Orcas and Humpback whale blows could be seen a long distance away.

As luck would have it, as we headed out on our tour this afternoon we encountered Orcas (A34’s and I4’s) making their way through Weynton Passage towards Johnstone Strait. It was wonderful to see them passing by and to listen to their A & G-Clan calls via our hydrophone as they entered into Johnstone Strait. The lighting was superb and the viewing phenomenal.

Out in Blackfish Sound the blows of Humpback whales were seen rising in all directions near and far away towards the BC Mainland. The sight and sounds of them and a myriad of bird species calling and flying about made the viewing wondrous and unforgettable. We watched while the whales lunged through the bait balls barely formed and soon consumed by the frenzied feeding of the Humpback whales.

Travelling home via the island waterways we watched in awe the Stellar sea lions, those hauled out and sitting upon the rocks majestically while those in the water intrigued us with their graceful and fluid swimming antics.

And then, as though to remind us once again just how wonderful this special place on earth truly is, Pacific White-sided dolphins appeared as though from nowhere and were soon all around us and racing onwards.

Each day we say to ourselves that it cannot get any better, but each day we also have to admit and say that it does!

Seasmoke Whale Watching photo’s have been taken using a telephoto lens by Dave Jones and have been cropped.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feasting Orcas, Humpback and Minke whales!

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Our sightings:

Orcas ( A34’s and others), Humpback whales, Minke whales, Dall’s porpoises, Stellar sea lions, Harbour seals, Bald Eagles, Red-necked Phalaropes, Ancient Murrelets, Rhinoceros Auklets, Gull species, Belted Kingfishers, Fork-tailed Storm Petrels and Common Murres.

We ventured out on two tours today and on each, we were blessed in spending time in the company of Orcas, Humpback and Minke whales.

And what an incredible day of viewing it turned out to be with the sights and sounds of Orcas feeding and milling about whilst vocalizing clearly their beautiful A-Clan calls.

There were wondrous sights and sounds of numerous Humpback whales lunge and trap feeding through bait balls again and again with their pectoral fins waving at times above their magnificent bodies while gulls hovered and circled above them.

We all watched in amazement, mesmerized by the beauty unfolding around us while the feasting of the many cetaceans in our surroundings continued and fully occupied our senses. Touring home via narrow island passageways we were gifted more subtle forms of nature’s beauty; glistening kelp forests and the many shades of green that rested upon the islands sun drenched trees. We sat silent and spellbound in our seats looking outwards at all of the magic and beauty that was only a stones throw away. We dared not talk or look away, we wanted the images to last a long while in our mind’s.

How fortunate are we to live in this glorious place on earth, and for travellers from all around the world to gather and see for themselves, nature at it very best!

Seasmoke Whale Watching photo’s have been taken by Dave Jones using a telephoto lens and have been cropped.

Humpback whales, a Minke whale, Pacific White-sided dolphins and so much more!

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September 19th

Today’s Sightings:

Humpback whales, a Minke Whale, Dall’s porpoise, Pacific White-sided dolphins, Stellar sea lions, Harbour seals, Bald Eagles, Red Necked Phalaropes, Ancient Murrelets, Rhinoceros Auklets, Gull species, Belted Kingfishers, Great Blue Heron and Common Murres.

A Minke whale and at least fifty Pacific White-sided dolphins was the opening act on our tour this morning. The dolphins were on a mission, passing our boat at full speed, perhaps in pursuit of a tasty school of fish.

The ocean currents were running at full speed, turning a tranquil sea into a raging river, churning food from the ocean floor and bringing it to the surface, providing nutrients for the eagerly awaiting birds.

The weather once again offered mirrored seas and a welcomed mix of sun and cloud which created the perfect setting for our guests to witness the beauty in their surroundings.  They marvelled at the clear water and enjoyed seeing through the emerald green looking glass at the wonders of kelp forests, schools of abundant fish and the intertidal wonders.

The Humpbacks stole the show again today and it was a privilege to watch them for over an hour. Our skipper described the waters as ‘Humpback Soup’ because blows could be seen from all around with over 30 Humpback whales in total. Skippers who have been operating in these waters for many years, remarked on how they have never seen so many Humpback whales. While engines were shut down and we drifted in silence, the whales carried on with their means for survival and feasted on the nutrients in the form of small schooling fish kindly offered by the sea. Trap and lunge feeding was observed and amongst the whales were some we recognised including Back Pearl, Freckles and Slash.

It was absolutely and utterly Magical out on tour today!

Seasmoke Whale Watching photo’s have been taken by Dave Jones using a telephoto lens and have been cropped.

Beautiful Humpback whales and more!

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September 17th

Our Sightings:

Humpback whales, a Minke Whale, Dall’s Porpoise, Stellar sea lions, Harbour seals, Black-tailed deer, Bald Eagles, Red-necked Phalaropes, Rhinoceros Auklets, Gull species, Belted Kingfishers, Great Blue Heron, Cormorants and Common Murres.

We had four seasons in one day as we observed dramatic changes in weather from overcast conditions, pouring rain then brilliant sunshine with blue skies. The seas were glassy calm allowing us to see as far as our eyes could stretch out towards a horizon completely speckled with whale blows.

Today was the tour of the feasting Humpbacks as we witnessed the various feeding behaviours performed by our residents.  Everywhere we journeyed on our tour this afternoon we were in the presence of these wonderful creatures. It truly touches us, as we enter into their world by the means of an ocean going vessel, looking into their beautifully balanced eco-system that appears to sustain such a generous population.

As the signs of winter are steadily moving in, we can only imagine that the animals of this region are focused entirely on putting meat on their bones and for some, building winter stores. Thankfully the winters here at sea level, on Vancouver Island are fairly mild and even some food in the forest is available all winter long. Today as we cruised the smaller islands a Black-tailed deer eagerly nourished itself as it grazed at low tide and a brief encounter with a Minke whale and Dall’s porpoises gave an impression that all the different animals that call this place home live together in harmony.

We wonder if these animals looked into our world, the human race, if we to give off the same impression. Time spent in nature does create contemplation.

Seasmoke Whale Watching photo’s have been taken with a telephoto lens and have been cropped.